Scobleizer Weblog

Daily Permalink Sunday, April 27, 2003

Dan thinks he invented the term "bloggarrhea" too, but a search of Google finds at least one prior use.

Chris Putnam says he sees a bunch of Google spider activity in his weblog's logs now. Heh. I told him I'd send the Google spider over to see him soon. We'll see where he shows up on the next index of Google. Welcome to the "secret club" Chris! You have the GoogleJuice now -- use it for good, not for evil.

Just keeping Seattle-weblogger-get-together-to-see-the-new-Matrix-movie discussion up high on everyone's list.

Dave Winer also gave me some feedback about my stance as to how Microsoft got to its dominant position in the marketplace. He thinks I have a bug in my thinking. I'm doing some self-examination on that point and will get back to him on that.

One thing I want to make sure is that I take the "totally unarrogant" position. That's the right one to take. We've all met "big company folks" who are arrogant. It's easy to be arrogant. I don't like to take the easy road. Not to mention, it won't help me do my job. I also wasn't at a "big company" (whether it's NEC or Microsoft) back when it went from small to big, so it really is wrong for me to be arrogant anyway.

If I ever take the arrogant road, or the associated untruthful one, please slap me with the virtual equivilent of a 2x4, OK? (I know Dave will).

Silicon Valley signs of the times. I should have taken a picture, but yesterday there was six "for sale" signs in our townhome complex alone. And, of the four corporate buildings within a five-minute walk, three are empty. My next-door neighbor just told me he's been laid off for quite a while (he is an operations guy and worked last with a semiconductor company, which is going through one of its worst periods in history). Let's see. My wife is laid off. My brother is laid off. My next-door-neighbor is laid off. My brother-in-law is laid off. Thank the NEC Gods I had a job for the past year.

Dori Smith pointed out that the Matrix sequels will be available on IMax too. Cool! Oh, great, that means I'm gonna see this three times. Once with the Windows team, once with the webloggers up in Seattle, and again with my son on IMax (if it's not too racy for his nine-year-old-eyes -- keep in mind he's already seen

My NEC exit interview.

I have three working days left at NEC. I wonder if I'll have an exit interview. I doubt it, but if I did, here's how I imagine it'd go. The usual disclaimers apply. These are my opinions. This interview never happened except in my mind.

Q: Why you leaving NEC?

Scoble: To take a job at Microsoft.

Q: OK, but why you leaving, weren't you happy here?

Scoble: I'm very happy. But, an executive from Microsoft called me up and offered me a chance to work on a product that has sold hundreds of millions of copies and he liked my weblog.

Q: What's a weblog?

Scoble: search Google. Microsoft has 100 webloggers, both internally and externally. NEC, a company that has twice as many employees only has one that I know of (me), and I'm leaving.

Q: Really, did you hate the team you worked for?

Scoble: I loved the team. It includes former execs from Apple and Tivo and I've never worked with such a great group of folks -- they taught me a lot and made my first "big company" job a great experience. I'm not leaving because the people suck.

Q: Well, why you going to a smaller company then? (Microsoft has 55,000 employees, NEC has 115,000).

Scoble: Because Microsoft called me and found something for me that sounds fun -- and is good for my career. At NEC I haven't had any executive call me up and say "hey, I have a job that might help your career out." A Microsoft executive called me. They outhustled you.

Q: What could we have done differently to keep you here?

Scoble: Had me head up a group of employees to start up weblogs that'd be used to increase NEC's visibility in the market and to gather feedback about our products.

Also, show some concern about my future rather than just use me as another cog in a big machine. Make me a star. Give me something to work toward. Microsoft gave me a chance to change the world so I took it.

Q: Again, what's a weblog?

Scoble: You ever hear of Google?

Q: Seriously, are weblogs that important?

Scoble: Nah. They aren't -- the Register seems to think they are only for folks with oversized egos. Maybe they are right. Seriously, it's more important that you just be online and help customers out whereever they are. For instance, check out the NEC forums on and My work over there, and in the Microsoft newsgroups, won you customers and made the Tablet one of the most successful product launches you've had in recent memory. But, did anyone from outside our group notice? Well, yes, someone at Microsoft did.

Q: What else would you like to see happen here?

Scoble: Come out with an even better "thin and light" Tablet. And figure out weblogs and online communities before the other OEMs do -- it's a competitive advantage. Give my best to the guy (Evan Roper) who'll answer the telephones from now on (he had the job before I did, hopefully I did an OK job in his absence).

Also, give us more resources to take advantage of hot opportunities. The team here is awesome, and the Tablet is the future of computing, and it's obviously successful for NEC. Give the team here more visibility and more opportunities to succeed in the future. Make sure you remain Bill Gates' favorite product. Make sure the next Tablet has a great GPU (hey, NVidia is only a block away, why don't you visit them and see if you can put a great GPU into the next NEC?)

Anyway, seriously, working at NEC was awesome. I had a chance to help launch the coolest Tablet around and working with the people on the Mobile Solutions team was great.

What a year! It's sad to leave.

Oh, one other thing: free Cokes and an office instead of a cube would help. Not to mention helping me buy a house would have been nice. Oh, and Washington State has no income tax, so that's automatically an 8% or so raise!

Glenn Fleischman has good notes of Google's "number one employee" and director of technology Craig Silverstein.

Only in Silicon Valley?

I was entering freeway 280 from the Woodside on ramp and I catch a look at something I've never seen in my rear-view Window. It looked like a car out of a Terminator movie or something. It looked like Jaws on wheels. It was so distinctive that it caught my attention several hundred yards behind me on the on ramp.

I knew it would be something I wanted to see more of, so I reved up my Toyota Corolla and entered the freeway at about 65 mph. Hey, I have a loser car.

Now, for those of you who haven't had the joys of driving on Freeway 280 through Woodside, let me describe it to you.

This freeway was designed to make German autobahns obsolete. It was designed to make every driver happy. It was designed for a future where we all drive 120 m.p.h. It was designed for a future where we all have Jaws on wheels.

It's a four-lane law-breaker's paradise? Why? Because cops can't hide and catch you. First the cops have to sneak up on you from behind. Clearly no cops were gonna sneak up on these two. Second, it's straight. Third, it's smooth. Fourth, the scenery is awesome. Fifth, the homes around are those multi-million types built by folks like Larry Ellison.

Anyway, I watch my rear view mirror and catch a scary site. Jaws on wheels is being raced by some souped-up-Pontiac thing.

Keep in mind, I've only been on the freeway for about 15 seconds. I tell my son Patrick to "look behind us cause there's a car I've never seen before."

Patrick looks and says "awesome."

Dang, I'm trapped behind a Rolls Royce. One of those right-hand-drive old jobbies. The dude driving is oblivious to the drag race going on behind us. We watch as the Jaws on wheels enters the freeway, with the Pontiac holding its own alongside. Clearly Jaws is just toying with the Pontiac.

I'm doing 80 mph now. I'm breaking all the speed laws ever designed. But, these two cars roar by and make me look like I'm standing on the side of the road. The Pontiac is clearly struggling. Black smoke puffs out of its twin exhausts as its owner pushes it in this Silicon Valley pissing contest. He wants to be able to tell his friends "I blew away a brand new Lamborghini."

Smartly, the Lamborghini owner toys with the Pontiac for a couple hundred yards, then steps on the brakes and slows down to the legal 65.

Now, I know, many of you are thinking "what arrogant assh+++s, toying with everyone's lives out on the freeway. I was thinking that too, but I was also thinking "dang, if I was behind the wheel of Jaws on wheels I'd be too tempted to show off too."

Speaking of Jaws on wheels. It was a Lamborghini Gallardo. Suggested list price? $165,000.

I just had to sit back and admire an awesome car.

One other thing. I remember the license plate very clearly. It was UCICU.

Doc Searls tells Andrew of the Register "Yo Andrew! You missed the party, dude!"

Jonathan Peterson asks "why does The Register hate blogs?"

It took less than 30 minutes to change my mind. How's that?

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Dave Winer just called and said I had it all wrong about the Creative Commons. He explained that the Creative Commons lets you share stuff, but isn't designed to keep it from being misused. He says that's important and explained to me how a magazine called him recently asking for permission to use a picture he took.

Dave wanted to give them the picture for free, but the magazine wanted him to sign a contract giving them permission. Dave doesn't sign contracts without having a lawyer review them first, so giving a picture away would have cost him a few hours of lawyer time, which costs about $300 an hour. Creative Commons gave him an alternative. Now he can say "that picture is covered by my Creative Commons contract, is that OK?" Usually it is, so both he and the magazine save money.

It's a compelling argument. I'm signing up. See, this is what I like about weblogging. You can say something, and within a few minutes, you can have someone change your mind. I never learned interactively this way when I was writing for a magazine. Now I can have a conversation with a world-wide audience.

Chris Hollander has proof that the Creative Commons' rules and "brand" don't mean a damn thing. Why? Cause who is gonna stop sites from ripping off content without following the rules? Hey, it's happening to Chris. It's why I didn't bother signing up for the Creative Commons stuff. I figure if you're gonna steal my content, you're gonna steal it, and I really could care less.

If I did, however, the Creative Commons has no money behind it. No lawyers. No threats that anyone will take seriously. All you can do is pour scorn on people who break the rules. Yeah, that all works when people are rational, but there are very few rational types around.

Steve Makofsky asks "what happened to Windows Developer Journal?" Steve: you've discovered one of the bad things about the publishing industry. Guess what? It doesn't matter how much content you have if you're doing a magazine. It matters how much advertising you have. That is what sets the page count. No advertisers=no magazine. That's the economics. You think your $4 a month covers the cost of doing a magazine? Nope. On the best ones, it covers less than half.

All sorts of magazines are hurting right now. The publishing industry isn't healthy. What's my thesis?

The Web is killing publishing.

Think about it. Why would I buy a magazine on Windows development when I can read a weblog like this which will get me far more in depth from the guy who's one of the key guys on the .NET Team at Microsoft?

In fact, one of the reasons I read magazines is for the advertising, but even that's on the Web now.

Don't believe me, well, while over at Chris Hollander's site, I discovered this Honda commercial. Wow. My son and I watched that five times. You know, I'd love to Tivo just this commercial. I wonder how I could learn when it'd be played on TV? Chris also pointed me to some of the details. This commercial is TOTALLY REAL and took 606 tries!

I'm glad Chris Sells joined up before I did. His report on his first week at Microsoft is most helpful. I find my mind is exploding with the possibilities of a new job. Well, it's either that or it's the hangover from last night's "goodbye" party that my dad threw for us.

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Robert Scoble works at Microsoft. Everything here, though, is his personal opinion and is not read or approved before it is posted. No warranties or other guarantees will be offered as to the quality of the opinions or anything else offered here.

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© Copyright 2004 Robert Scoble Last updated: 1/3/2004; 2:26:46 AM.